“Grief, when it comes, is nothing like we expect it to be.” ~Joan Didion
Ever since I was a little girl grieving has been an issue I didn’t deal very well with and today is no different. Today I got word that a child I visited with lost her life to a traumatic brain injury. When I heard this news it hit me like a ton of bricks…. In fact, sitting here now writing this I am wiping tears steadily from my eyes.
These tears are full of so many different emotions. It breaks my heart into to know this child lost her life to the same thing I went through 24 years ago and she was the same age. As any other heartbreak I have experienced in my lifetime I knew it had something to teach me. So, I got quiet for a while and listened to all these feelings I was experiencing and then I knew. And I said an immediate Thank You, not thanking for this child’s death at all but for the fact that I was still here to speak for someone who just passed.
“When life is sweet, say thank you and celebrate. When life is bitter, say thank you and grow.” ~Shauna Niequist
Over the past year I have had the opportunity to meet with and connect with quite a few different children who have suffered from this injury that almost took my life. Through it all I realize so much on each child individually but also with them all as a whole. But what’s the most gratifying to my heart is the fact that they all show me and teach me something of my own injury. The questions I always had…
Each child I have met has all had an inner light. And what I mean by this is they greet me with a bright smile and I can instantly feel love in their hearts. But what I also feel is those same questions I had at their age, the unknowing feeling I always had. I remember vividly those nights of lying in that hospital bed in Albany Georgia praying to God above for answers all night long. Asking over and over is it always going to be this hard, will I walk again, will I always have a feeding tube in my stomach, will I always be different, will I ever think straight??? The questions were unlimited…. And here I am 24 years later receiving all these answers with such grace. And I have the luxury of sharing all these answers with these beautiful children going through these same issues, with these same questions.
I didn’t get the opportunity to meet the child who passed today, only her family. But I can say and I say with full confidence even though I didn’t get the opportunity to meet with her and connect she has taught me quite a few lessons just as the other children do, and I feel connected. This first lesson is, that I am very grateful each and every day to be alive after going through something as tragic as this, and second that I am moving in the correct direction with my brain trauma mission, and then there is the third lesson… That this little warrior will more than likely be right beside me in spirit pushing me right along…